Having missed the UK Top 40 with their seasonal offering “Wishing You A Happy Christmas”, Boston quintet The Hush Now are far from dissapointed. Having their sights set firmly on British stardom, The Hush Now release their second album Constellations on February 22nd. With a new line-up and determined attitude, lead singer Noel Kelly seems optimistic about the future when he speaks to zap! bang!
Where does name The Hush Now come from?
It took me awhile to think of a decent band name. I don’t know if I achieved what I set out to do, but I wanted a band name that almost sounded/described our music. There’s an atmospheric, almost ethereal feel to those three words and they almost roll off the tongue. I also liked the imagery it brought to mind such as a mother calming her child in the most tender way or the inherent sense of anticipation that follows the hush, like the moment just before a symphony starts. Shit that’s some interpretation. Really, it was the name that sucked the least. But those other things too.
There are soooooo many websites you have to maintain nowadays.
The music industry is revolving ever increasingly around the internet, how do you find it in terms of keeping in touch and having conversations with your fans?
We haven’t been all to great about connecting with fans. We’re pretty much dolts when it comes to the internet. Have you seen our website? It’s pretty laughable. Yours truly is the mastermind behind that piece of shite. But now that the album is getting released, the band is locked in and practiced, we’ll have to make a concerted effort to be more available. We’re planning to be more engaged with tour blogs, etc.
Most music bands tend to have a MySpace page, have you explored other social networking sites?
There are soooooo many websites you have to maintain nowadays. Facebook, imeem, MySpace, last.fm, twitter, etc, etc, etc. It’s a full time gig, really. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to handle them all. But we’ll get better at it. Our success is mainly attributed to online buzz. It’s been great to be able to get music out to so many people, there just has to be an easier way to do it.
When will we see you in the UK?
That is a great question. We were trying to get over to the UK in Feb, but we haven’t been able to secure a UK booking agent. We’ve been hollering, but no luck thus far. We’re now shooting for May. If anybody knows a good booking agent, give a shout.
You attempted the Christmas Chart battle this year. Were you pleased with you 1000/1 odds?
I personally loved it. I’ve been given worse odds in my life. I don’t think we could have asked for a better Christmas present either. 1000/1 odds but to be called the loveliest recording of the season by the UK Telegraph was pretty awesome. Maybe we’ll do better next year…
Did you really care if Joe or Rage would win?
Not really. I didn’t even know there was a campaign out there to be honest. What exactly is The X-Factor anyway? Is it like American idol? If so, we should stop discussing before my head explodes. Still, just voting to unseat somebody else seems like it misses the point a bit, no matter how vile the competition. Isn’t it supposed to be about the song? What the fuck do I know though?
Can you tell us a little bit more about Constellations?
So pretty much right after finishing up our first album, we headed back into the studio (again w/Dave Newton) to record Constellations. The band was sort of a group musicians at the time rather than a real functioning band. We recorded at Chillhouse Studios in Boston MA and on the first day of recording the studio was flooded under a deluge of rain. An ominous start to say the least. But we got most of the recording completed in a week or so. Mike D’minno (since left the band) played bass on most of the tracks. I also was able to cherry pick some musicians from my family including my sister on clarinet and flute, brother-in-law on trumpet, brother on keys (also the opera vocal in Hoping and waiting) and my 16 year old nephew on banjo. His first recording experience. I was also lucky enough to get Rick Bolander (formerly of Cerulean) to play some guitars as well as Dave Newton (Mighty Lemon Drops). I really wanted to try and expand our sound a bit on this album. But wait till you hear album three. The material is ready and with a full band finally locked in and humming, it just makes everything else before pale in comparison. I can’t wait to start recording again.
What have been the main inspirations for the material?
I really was vibing on warm, thick AM 70’s dance music during the writing and recording process. That’s probably where a lot of the horns come from. I don’t really have a good answer to be honest. I kind of just try to get out of the way when I’m writing. I’m constantly working on music and songs. I unfortunately still have a day gig, so when I get home and have time to strum a guitar and work on songs, it’s such a treat for me. I love it. And then on top of that, I get to watch it come to life when the other guys start laying their own influences on top. “Contrails” is a bit of a reflective piece for me. I was picturing a square dance for “Fireflies”. So I guess didn’t really answer your question. I once dated a ‘cutter’ which is what “I saw You First” was attempting to be about.
What exactly is The X-Factor anyway? Is it like American idol? If so, we should stop discussing before my head explodes.
The Hush Now was a result of a near fatal car accident, with that in the past, do you feel Constellations has a lighter feel to it?
I would say so. I was definitely much more confident in my approach on Constellations. I was still straddling the sound of my previous band (Cerulean) a bit on the first album. But your question: Yeah, I think so. That accident was pretty intense. I spent a night in jail, lost my license for a year, lost my job and ended up living in a basement in Portland OR while trying to come up with plan B for my life. Seems so long ago now. But I couldn’t be happier than I am with this band. Just such a great group of fellas and so talented. I’m pretty lucky.
The band has undergone line-up changes since your debut album The Hush Now, how has this impacted on the group in general?
Well, it definitely doesn’t help when youre trying to gig. To-date, I think we’ve played maybe 10 shows. Somebody would leave and then I’d spend months scrambling trying to find the ‘right’ replacement. But now it’s set. I think the hardest thing is that for John, Adam and Pat, they have to learn songs that aren’t their own. It’s almost like playing covers for them. Its a tough thing to do and still make it sound meaningful. But, that’ll be all remedied come album three.
How did you set about finding replacement members?
I found Adam Quane (lead guitar) through craigslist classifieds. What a find too. He had just graduated from the New England Conservatory for jazz performance. Barry, John and Pat work together at Newbury Comics and also played in another band together called Belt. Barry has been with me since the beginning, so he was instrumental in bringing those guys onboard. I met everybody at a local dive bar TC’s and if they seemed like somebody we could spend time with, they were in. We never held any auditions.
If you could have recast The Hush Now with your dream line up, what would that have been?
I would have Animal on drums, Janice on guitar, Sgt Floyd Pepper on bass, Zoot on the horn and Dr. Teeth on keyboards and vocals. Nah, I’m pretty damn happy with the current line-up. We’re gonna be pretty good too.
What are your hopes for the forthcoming year?
We have a tour down to SXSW in Austin TX coming up. I’ve never been, so I’m really looking forward to that. Touring the UK is high on everybody’s list. We’d love to get invited to some festivals this year. We’ll start recording the next album in August. And maybe a record label or two will show some interest. I don’t think wed mind that so much. And anything has got to be easier than last year. If you only knew…Sweeeeeeeeeeet Peppers :)